Hey, let's all take a quick minute right now to acknowledge those brilliant beacons of books—free books, for goodness sake!—that dot towns across the country. The Public Library, a new hardback by photographer Robert Dawson, offers a poignant look at the incredible architectural range of these community hubs.

Flipping through shows just how many incarnations there are out there—and they all elicit a completely different emotional response. There are ultra-modern, tech-heavy centers, sites situated in strip malls, single, run-down rooms in small towns, and grand heritage buildings with built-in civic pride. The whole thing makes me think back to my own specific hometown branch that first introduced the adventures of reading way back when (shout out to Hermosa Beach!), and how that place planted in me a deep-seeded affection for text-based escape.

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I've picked out a few way wide-ranging examples from the book—which you can buy for $23—and would love to hear your favorite library stories below.


Super Bingo, Family Dollar, and Mockingbird Branch Library, Abilene, Texas, 2011


Library, Death Valley National Park, California, 2009


Central Library, Seattle, Washington, 2009


The Globe Chandelier near Children's Library, Central Library, Los Angeles, California, 2008


Yarborough Branch Library, Austin, Texas, 2011


Caliente Branch Library in former Union Pacific railroad station, Caliente, Nevada, 2012


View from main library of the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010


Vault and door, Central Library, Kansas City, Missouri, 2012


Rudy's Library, Monowi, Nebraska, 2012


Rifle-training class, West Wendover Branch Library, West Wendover, Nevada, 2010